Chapter 4 Restorative Justice/Community Justice
Restorative justice offers a different framework for the administration of justice and the promotion of individual and community safety. The concept of restorative justice involves the offender, the victim, and the community in efforts to create a balanced approach that addresses all stakeholders' needs.
Upon completion of this chapter, students will understand the following concepts:
Traditionally, America's systems of criminal and juvenile justice have focused on crimes committed against the state, on seeking justice through what many view as an "adversarial process," and on punishment of the offender. In the United States, victims' involvement in the criminal justice system has emanated from their roles primarily as witnesses rather than as active, welcome participants. While this involvement has changed with the advent of increasing victims' rights and programs, the justice system still tends to be more "offender directed" than "victim centered."
This traditional approach has been challenged by the new paradigm of a more balanced vision. Restorative justice, the guiding philosophical framework for this vision, promotes maximum involvement of the victim, the offender, and the community in the justice process, and presents a clear alternative to sanctions and intervention based on retributive or traditional treatment assumptions (Bazemore and Umbreit 1994, 1). Restorative justice is both a philosophy and an approach that seeks to balance the interests and needs of crime victims, offenders, and the community (Seymour 1997).
Unlike America's framework for criminal justice and juvenile justice, restorative justice is not a system or a network of agencies. Rather, restorative justice is based upon a shared set of values that determines how conflicts can be resolved and how damaged relationships can be repaired or improved. This value-based approach to justice can cause confusion in justice professions that have traditionally been based on structures and agencies. However, the ultimate goal of restorative justice is to infuse its shared values and practical applications into America's traditional approaches to criminal and juvenile justice.
In Restorative Justice: An Overview (1998), Tony Marshall described the genesis of the idea of restorative justice:
The first use of the term is generally ascribed to Barnett (1977), referring to certain principles arising out of early experiments in America using mediation between victims and offenders. These principles have been developed further over time, as commentators have thought them through further, and as other innovative practices have been taken into account, but their basic justification is still grounded in practical experience. Innovation in criminal justice has mainly been in response to frustrations that many practitioners have felt with the limitations, as they perceived them, of traditional approaches. In the course of their normal work, these practitioners started to experiment with new ways of dealing with crime problems. Practice developed through experience of "what worked" in terms of impact on offenders, satisfaction of victims, and public acceptability. In particular, it was realized that the needs of victims, offenders, and the community generally were not independent, and that justice agencies had to engage actively with all three in order to make any impact. For instance, public demands for severe punishment, which those working to reform offenders found to be counter-productive, could only be relieved if attention was paid to victims' needs and healing the community, so that offender rehabilitation could only occur in parallel with the satisfaction of other objectives. Similarly, the overloading of courts and other justice agencies was due to the increasing lack of capacity of local communities to manage their indigenous crime problems, so that escalating costs could only be prevented by agencies working in partnership with communities to reconstruct the latter's resources for crime prevention and social control.
Restorative justice is not therefore a single academic theory of crime or justice, but represents, in a more or less eclectic way, the accretion of actual experience working successfully with particular crime problems. Although contributing practice has been extremely varied (including victim support, mediation, conferencing, problem-oriented policing, and both community- and institution-based rehabilitation programs), all these innovations were based on recognition of the need for engagement between two or more of the various parties (victim, offender, community). Coming from very different directions, innovating practitioners found themselves horning in on the same underlying principles of action (personal participation, community involvement, problem-solving, and flexibility). As practice is refined, so is the concept of restorative justice.
In the course of this development, there has been much inspiration from examples of "community justice" still in use (or recently so) among other non-western cultures, particularly among the indigenous populations in such New World countries as North America (Native American sentencing circles) and New Zealand ("Maori justice"). These practices have particularly contributed to the development of "family (or community) group conferencing," and were effective in moving restorative justice ideas away from the excessive individualism of victim/offender mediation practices, providing a new community-oriented focus . . .
The transition from an adversarial justice process to one that is more restorative requires significant change in both practice and principles. While there are many practical applications of restorative justice, it is important that such practices be based upon a shared set of principles and values. In a 1996 national teleconference on restorative justice sponsored by the National Institute of Corrections, participants offered seven basic principles of restorative justice upon which stakeholders can begin to evaluate existing efforts and create new approaches to justice practices:
FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
In 1997, the Mennonite Central Committee published Fundamental Concepts of Restorative Justice, which focuses on three key theories that form the foundation of both the philosophy and practices of restorative justice.
Crime is fundamentally a violation of people and interpersonal relationships.
- The primary victims are those most directly affected by the offense but others, such as family members of victims and offenders, witnesses, and members of the affected community, are also victims.
- The relationships affected (and reflected) by crime must be addressed.
- A restorative justice process maximizes the input and participation of these parties--particularly victims as well as offenders--in the search for restoration, healing, responsibility, and prevention.
- The roles of these parties will vary according to the nature of the offense and the capacities and preferences of the parties.
- The state has circumscribed roles, such as investigating facts, facilitating processes, and ensuring safety, but the state is not a primary victim.
Violations create obligations and liabilities.
- Since the primary obligation is to victims, a restorative justice process empowers victims to effectively participate in defining obligations.
- Offenders are provided opportunities and encouragement to understand the harm they have caused to victims and the community and to develop plans for taking appropriate responsibility.
- Voluntary participation by offenders is maximized; coercion and exclusion are minimized. However, offenders may be encouraged or required to accept their obligations if they do not do so voluntarily.
- Obligations that follow from the harm inflicted by crime should be related to making things right.
- Obligations may be experienced as difficult, even painful, but are not intended as pain, vengeance, or revenge.
- Obligations to victims, such as restitution, take priority over other sanctions and obligations to the state, such as fines.
- Offenders have an obligation to be active participants in addressing their own needs.
- Has a responsibility to support and help victims of crime to meet their needs.
- Bears a responsibility for the welfare of its members and the social conditions and relationships which promote both crime and community peace.
- Has responsibilities to support efforts to integrate offenders into the community, to be actively involved in the definitions of offender obligations, and to ensure opportunities for offenders to make amends.
Restorative justice seeks to heal and put right the wrongs.
- The safety of victims is an immediate priority.
- The justice process provides a framework that promotes the work of recovery and healing that is ultimately the domain of the individual victim.
- Victims are empowered by maximizing their input and participating in determining needs and outcomes.
- Offenders are involved in repair of the harm insofar as possible.
- Face-to-face encounters are appropriate in some instances while alternative forms of exchange are more appropriate in others.
- Victims have the principal role in defining and directing the terms and conditions of the exchange.
- Mutual agreement takes precedence over imposed outcomes.
- Opportunities are provided (but not expected) for remorse, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
- Recognizing that offenders themselves have often been harmed, healing and integration of offenders into the community are emphasized.
- Offenders are supported and treated respectfully in the justice process.
- Removal from the community and severe restriction of offenders are limited to the minimum necessary.
- Justice values change above compliant behavior.
- Community members are actively involved in doing justice.
- The justice process draws from community resources and, in turn, contributes to the building and strengthening of community.
- The justice process attempts to promote changes in the community to prevent similar harms from happening to others.
- Justice monitors and encourages follow-through, since healing, recovery, accountability, and change are maximized when agreements are kept.
- Fairness is assured, not by uniformity of outcomes but through provision of necessary support and opportunities to all parties and avoidance of discrimination based on ethnicity, class, and gender.
- Outcomes that are predominately deterrent or incapacitative should be implemented as a last resort and involve the least restrictive intervention while seeking restoration of the parties involved.
- Unintended consequences, such as the co-optation of restorative processes for coercive or punitive ends, undue offender orientation or the expansion of social control, are resisted (Zehr and Mika 1997).
The traditional and accepted roles of all parties in the criminal and juvenile justice systems are challenged by the framework of restorative justice. The following values and assumptions should be considered by victim service providers in developing roles and responsibilities that are relevant to restorative justice:
The new roles in the balanced approach of restorative justice, as articulated by Dr. Gordon Bazemore, are included in the second column, and the implications of these roles on victims are summarized in the third column of the following chart:
|Traditional* Justice||Restorative Justice||Implications For Victims|
|The criminal justice system controls crime.||Crime control lies primarily in the community.||The community--including victims and their allies--participates in and directly benefits from deterrence.|
|Offender accountability defined as taking punishment.||Accountability defined as assuming responsibility and taking action to repair harm.||Offenders are held directly accountable to victims.|
|Crime is an individual act with individual responsibility.||Crime has both individual and social dimensions of responsibility.||Prevention, intervention, and breaking the cycle of violence are important considerations.|
|Crime is an act against the state, a violation of the law, an abstract idea.||Crime is an act against another person or the community.||The victim is individualized as central to the crime and the criminal justice system process, with the community duly noted as also affected by crimes.|
|Punishment is effective:
a. Threat of punishment deters crime.
b. Punishment changes behavior.
|Punishment alone is not effective in changing behavior and is disruptive to community harmony and good relationships.||Punishment is augmented by direct accountability to the victim and to the community, with victims having a strong, consistent voice.|
|Victims are peripheral to the process.||Victims are central to the process of resolving a crime.||Restorative justice principles are "victim-centered."|
|The offender is defined by deficits.||The offender is defined by his or her capacity to make reparation.||Reparations to the victim and to the community are a priority.|
|Focus is on establishing blame, on guilt, on past (did he/she do it?).||Focus is on problem solving, on liabilities/obligations and on the future (what should be done?).||A central goal is to deter future criminal action through conflict resolution, problem solving, and fulfilling obligations to the victim and to the community.|
|Emphasis is on adversarial relationship.||Emphasis is on dialogue and negotiation.||Victims are active participants in determining appropriate reparations.|
|Imposition of pain to punish and deter/prevent.||Restitution as a means of restoring both parties; goal of conciliation/restoration.||Restitution holds the offender accountable and is meaningful to both him/her and the victim.|
|Community is on the sideline, represented abstractly by the state.||Community as facilitator in restorative process.||Just as the community is negatively affected by crime, it is positively affected by restorative justice process.|
|Response is focused on the offender's past behavior.||Response focused on harmful consequences of the offender's behavior; emphasis on the future.||Crime deterrence in the future focuses on victim and public safety.|
|Dependence on proxy professionals.||Direct involvement by participants.||Victims and their allies are directly involved in the criminal and juvenile justice and restorative justice processes.|
* In original publication, called "retributive" justice.
Kay Pranis, Restorative Justice Planner for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, offers nine questions (1997) that should be answered in developing restorative justice partnerships and practices:
1. How can we increase opportunities for victim involvement in defining harm and potential repair?
2. How can we increase offender awareness of injury to the victim?
3. How can we encourage offender acknowledgment of wrongness of his/her behavior?
4. How can we involve the offender in repairing the harm?
5. How can we acknowledge victim harm and confirm that the victim is not responsible for what happened?
6. How can the community send messages of disapproval while not banishing offenders?
7. How can the community provide opportunities for the offender to repair the harm?
8. How can the community be involved in the process of holding offenders accountable?
9. How can the community be supportive of victims and help meet their needs?
While restorative justice holds great promise for victims, many crime victims and service providers remain suspect of both the concept and the practical applications of restorative justice. Some of their fears and concerns are based on actual experiences, i.e., judges ordering victim/offender mediation without the victim's knowledge and/or consent, or victim/offender programs being developed without input from victims or those who serve them, with the expectation that they will be willing participants. Other fears and concerns are based upon victims' perceptions such as reading early publications about restorative justice that are offender-focused with little attention paid to victims' needs or concerns. If victims and service providers are truly to be stakeholders in restorative justice, their fears and concerns must be addressed in a meaningful way.
Restorative justice provides victims with a viable alternative to an adversarial justice process
that has traditionally ignored their interests and needs. While victims are increasingly being afforded considerable constitutional and statutory rights and improved services, they are seldom considered "partners in justice." Restorative justice offers victims the opportunity to join as equal partners with community representatives, professionals who assist offenders, justice practitioners, and victim service providers in planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving restorative justice programs and practices. When crime victims are excluded or diluted in restorative justice partnerships, the end result is likely to be continued growth in adversarial opposition to restorative justice.
Victims and those who serve them must contribute to and validate a community's shared values of restorative justice. This includes input into, as well as a shared understanding of, the following:
While there are generally accepted shared values of restorative justice, a community's guiding principles must "fit" the interests, needs, and challenges inherent among a locale's restorative justice community.
Restorative justice practitioners must also clearly define how their initiatives are beneficial to victims. In the 1997/98 Restorative Justice Regional Symposia sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, ten "marketing messages" for victims and those who serve them were proposed:
1. Crime victims' traditional roles solely as "witnesses" or "complainants" are expanded to incorporate victims as clients of the criminal and juvenile justice systems and welcome members of the community concerned about justice and safety.
2. Victims are given an active voice in the system and in other matters related to their cases.
3. Restorative justice approaches offer victims important choices related to their cases that can help return a sense of control to their lives in the aftermath of a crime or delinquent act.
4. The five core victims' rights are: information, input, notification, restitution, and protection. All should be afforded through restorative justice principles, programs, and practices.
5. Victim satisfaction is often directly related to the levels of participation and respect they are afforded by the criminal and juvenile justice systems--levels that are substantially increased through restorative justice approaches.
6. Important partnerships are forged among crime victims, victim advocates, justice and allied professionals, and community representatives to prevent and respond appropriately and sensitively to crime and delinquency.
7. Victim/offender programs offer crime victims the opportunity to seek answers to crucial questions they may have resulting from their victimization.
8. Offender accountability to the victim provides opportunity for both remorse from the offender and constructive, positive recourse for the victim.
9. Many victims believe their involvement in restorative justice programs and approaches will help offenders develop empathy and understanding for the harm and pain they have inflicted upon their victims, their own families, their communities, and themselves.
10. Restorative justice approaches provide opportunities for communities to learn about and support sensitive responses to victims of crime (Seymour 1998).
THE LANGUAGE OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
One of the most significant barriers to victim involvement in, and acceptance of, restorative justice is the language that is sometimes used within a restorative context. Victims' concerns extend beyond mere semantics to the expectations some words imply--that victims will heal, or that forgiveness should be an end result of restorative justice.
The word "restorative," for instance, is appropriate and powerful when describing a context or approach to justice. When the term "restoring victims" is used, many crime victims and service providers express viable concerns. Rather, "restoring justice to victims" through comprehensive, meaningful services and implementation of victims' rights is a more appropriate reference.
The term "victim/offender reconciliation" implies that there was a conciliatory relationship in the first place. While this may be true in some cases--particularly those involving interfamilial offenses--it is not true for many others. As such, caution should be utilized with this word.
The crucial concepts of "healing" and "closure" are frequently cited in restorative justice literature, policies, and programs. It is important to remember and respect that healing is a journey, not a destination. For many victims, "closure" is not only an unrealistic word; it is an unrealistic expectation. Neither healing nor closure should be cited as expected outcomes of restorative justice.
Perhaps the most inflammatory concept within a restorative justice framework is that of "forgiveness." Again, forgiveness should never be expected. If forgiveness emerges through restorative justice processes, it is healthy and welcome. Yet forgiveness from the victim--especially for offenses that cause horrendous acute and chronic trauma (both physical and emotional)--can be extremely difficult. Forgiveness without any display of remorse, sorrow, or rehabilitation from the offender can be impossible. Deschutes County, Oregon Chief Community Justice Officer Dennis Maloney emphasizes the importance of "earned redemption," that is, offenders must make diligent efforts to earn the victims' understanding that can lead them to mercy for the suffering and losses they have endured.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND VICTIM TRAUMA
An in-depth understanding of victim trauma is essential for restorative justice practitioners, including:
An increased understanding of victim trauma emerges from comprehensive training and from speaking directly to--and soliciting feedback from--crime victims and those who serve them. It is also important to recognize that the majority of victims do not report crimes to law enforcement; therefore, it is imperative that restorative justice values and practices incorporate approaches that attend to the needs of nonreporting victims.
In addition, restorative justice must recognize and respect that each victim, and each case, is unique. While a substantial body of research offers a general understanding of what many victims might go through, it can be detrimental to "paint all victims with a broad brush." Previctimization factors, socioeconomic status, presence or absence of a support system, and treatment by the justice system all contribute to how a victim may--or may not--react to restorative justice initiatives. The unique aspects of victimization are critical, in that they can affect a victim's willingness or ability to participate in or appreciate restorative justice practices.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE AND VICTIMS' RIGHTS
The effective implementation of victims' rights should form the foundation of restorative justice initiatives. There are strong rationales for integrating core victims' rights within a restorative justice context, most notably implementation of victims' rights is key to victim satisfaction and involvement with justice processes. The five victims' rights within a restorative justice framework include the following:
Victim notification. Notification to victims, upon request, about the status of their cases and offender should systematically take place from the time the offense occurs through any appellate processes. Restorative justice practitioners should be aware of the fifty-eight possible points of notification to victims (NCVC 1997), and promote interagency collaboration to "fill in the cracks" of notice and information. It is also important to note that "notification" should include the provision of information to victims about opportunities to participate in restorative justice-related programs and services, such as victim/offender mediation, victim impact panels, and completion of victim impact statements.
Victim impact statements. Victim impact statements can be truly restorative when they elicit the following information from victims:
The combination of "specific" and "open-ended" questions will elicit valuable insights into the victim's opinions, recommendations, and desire to participate in victim/offender programming. In addition, the victim impact statement can include a question regarding whether or not the victim wishes to be notified of the offender's status (such as violation of probation or release from incarceration/detention). The victim impact statement should be forwarded to the proper authority.
Victim/witness protection. Victims and witnesses should always be asked if they have any safety concerns, recognizing that many victims will not disclose this important information unless they are given a clear opportunity to do so. Restorative justice practitioners should directly solicit input from victims as to their need and recommendations for protective measures, such as "no contact orders" from offenders who are under both community and institutional supervision. Special attention should be paid to screening victims for participation in victim/offender programming and ensuring that the program's environment maximizes victim security.
Restitution. Restorative restitution is the first priority of offenders' financial/legal obligations (with the exception of child support, in which case the "first priority" is shared). Offender accountability through restitution is emphasized. If restitution poses a financial hardship on an offender--or if he or she is unable or unwilling to pay restitution--a clear determination must be made whether or not the victim endures undue financial hardship as a result of the crime (which is usually the case).
Interdisciplinary systems must be established that order, monitor, collect, and disburse restitution payments to victims. Practitioners should provide help to victims in documenting losses (see "Restitution" chapter of this text) and guide them in seeking civil or other recourse for nonpayment. Offenders' satisfactory completion of terms of restitution can be reinforced with incentives such as supervised out-of-state or community travel. Victims should also be allowed to seek restorative community service from the offender in lieu of, or adjunct to, actual restitution orders.
Victim information and referrals. While all restorative justice practitioners are not required to be "experts" in victim advocacy, they should be knowledgeable about and able to make qualified referrals to victim services. Information about victims' rights and services available to help victims at the local, state, and national levels should be universally available. In addition, all restorative justice programs should have at least one designated staff member or volunteer to serve as the "primary point of contact" for victims who need information and/or referrals.
MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS
As the victims' rights discipline increases its attention to program evaluation, and as more states and jurisdictions move toward performance-based evaluative measures, so must restorative justice consider effective approaches to measuring success and to identifying components that need improvement. In 1999, the Victims Committees of the American Probation and Parole Association and American Correctional Association are developing recommendations for evaluating restorative justice programs and initiatives (Seymour 1999). The following are measures included in the Committees' original draft:
- Notification of the case or offender status.
- Restitution and/or other financial/legal obligations.
- Protective orders or other measures to increase victim safety and security.
- The right to submit a victim impact statement, written, oral, through audio/video tape, and/or by teleconference to the hearing site.
- Information about and referrals to supportive services, offered either in the community or by the criminal or juvenile justice system.
- Requesting direct service from the offender?
- Having direct input into the community service placement from a list provided by the community corrections agency?
- Requesting that offenders provide community service to the victim assistance or community-based agency of the victim's choice?
- Community reparative boards.
- Family group conferencing.
- Healing or sentencing circles.
- "Impact of Crime on Victims" programs.
- Victim/offender mediation or dialogue.
- Victim impact panels.
In addition, the job performance measures of criminal and juvenile justice professionals must be changed to reflect the delivery of victim assistance and services. In the traditional justice system, great emphasis is placed on the numbers of cases processed, their outcomes in terms of sentences and findings, and services/programs provided to defendants, convicted offenders, and adjudicated youthful offenders. With a restorative justice approach, the evaluation measures for victim assistance and services described above should be incorporated into job descriptions and duty statements. Only when professional advancement is based upon victim assistance will the victim component of restorative justice be fully realized and implemented.
The traditional roles of professionals and volunteers within the justice system and victim services change in a restorative justice context. Practitioners must be willing and able to cross the habitual and customary boundaries that tend to isolate justice agencies (law enforcement, prosecution, courts, and community/institutional corrections) from each other, with limited consideration given to victims' rights and services as well as to community participation. In a restorative justice framework, partnerships work to eliminate boundaries and forge meaningful relationships that benefit victims, offenders, the community, and justice processes as a whole. The elevation of crime victims, those who serve them, and the community to "partner status" as restorative justice stakeholders holds tremendous promise for altering traditional roles in positive ways.
These changing roles must be reflected through changes in laws, agency policies, and interagency policies that define and integrate restorative justice, either into existing justice practices or into community-based initiatives. Most justice-related efforts are guided by legal mandates and agency policies and protocols. Serious attention should be focused on initiating or enhancing all guidelines and mandates that determine how "justice" operates and its roles and responsibilities to crime victims and those who serve them.
Just as the role and involvement of victims change considerably within a restorative justice framework, so do those of the community. Restorative justice validates the fact that communities, as well as individuals, are hurt by crime. It reflects a core belief that there is no such thing as a "victimless crime"--that any offense, no matter how "minor," has a detrimental impact on at least one person, and often on an entire neighborhood or community. It provides opportunities for communities to define the harm they endure as a result of criminal activity and involves them in developing solutions that promote both individual and community safety.
In the 1997/98 Restorative Justice Regional Symposia sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, Kay Pranis offered four assumptions about the relationship of the community to crime:
1. The community is an entity affected by criminal behavior.
2. The community is a collective, responsible for the welfare of its members, including victims and offenders.
3. The community is a stakeholder in broader policy issues.
4. Community strength is the ultimate outcome measure for (restorative justice) interventions.
Pranis also identified four key community responsibilities in responding to crime as follows:
1. Rally around the victim and attend to the wounds of the victim.
2. Provide the opportunity for the offenders to make amends for the harms caused by their behavior.
3. Establish norms and hold community members accountable to those norms.
4. Address underlying issues revealed by crimes.
With restorative justice approaches, a number of processes emerge that build a sense of community relevant to public safety, victim assistance, and offender accountability and reintegration:
Initially, the framework of restorative justice in the early 1990s focused primarily on juvenile justice. The balanced and restorative justice (BARJ) juvenile justice paradigm can best be described as a combined emphasis on three programming priorities:
New roles in the balanced approach promulgated by restorative justice are included in the following chart (Bazemore and Umbreit 1994, 4):
|Accountability - When a crime occurs, a debt incurs. Justice requires that every effort be made by offenders to restore losses suffered by victims.|
|Juvenile justice system role: Direct
juvenile justice resources to ensure
that offenders repay victims and
complete other relevant restorative
requirements as a top system priority.
Intended Outcome: Efficient, fair, and meaningful restorative justice practices; increased responsiveness to victims' needs.
|Offender role: Actively work to
restore victims' losses and
participate in activities that increase
empathy with the victim and victims
Intended Outcome: Understanding of consequences of offense behavior; increased empathy; feeling of fairness in justice process.
|Community role: Assist in the process
by providing paid work opportunities for
offenders, help to develop community
service work projects, and support victim
Intended Outcome: More participation in and support for the juvenile justice system; message that victims receive priority.
|Competency Development - Offenders should leave the juvenile justice system more capable of productive participation in conventional society than when they entered.|
|Juvenile justice system role: Access
youths' strengths and interests and
identify community resources to build
on those strengths in a way that
demonstrates competency. Engage
youth in these activities and provide
necessary supports for successful
completion. Build prevention
capacity through productivity
partnerships with employers,
educators, and other community
Intended Outcome: More opportunities for youth competency development; improved image of juvenile justice; increased competency.
|Offender role: Become actively
involved in activities that make a
positive contribution to the
community while building life skills;
make continuous progress in
improving educational skills while
using existing skills to help others.
Intended Outcome: Increased sense of competency and self-esteem; exposure to and interaction with positive adult role models; improved public image of youth.
|Community role: Become partner with
juvenile justice system in developing
opportunities for youth to make
productive contributions to the
community while learning positive civic
and other values.
Intended Outcome: Increased community involvement in and ownership of delinquency problem; completion of positive work in communities; improved quality of life in community.
|Community Protection - The public has a right to a safe and secure community; juvenile justice should develop a progressive response system to ensure offender control in the community and develop new ways to ensure public safety and respond to community concerns.|
|Juvenile justice system role: Ensure
that offenders are carefully
supervised by staff and a range of
community guardians and that
offenders' time is structured in
productive activities; develop a range
of supervision restrictiveness options
and alternative responses to violations
and incentives for progress.
Intended Outcome: Increased public support for community supervision.
|Offender role: Become involved in
competency building and restorative
activities; avoid situations that may
lead to further offenses.
Intended Outcome: No offenses while on supervision; reduced recidivism when the period of supervision is over.
|Community role: Provide input to
juvenile justice system regarding public
safety concerns; share responsibility for
offender control and reintegration.
Intended Outcome: Increased feelings of safety in community; increased confidence in juvenile community supervision.
The Community Justice Committee of the American Probation and Parole Association offers the following comparison of restorative justice and community justice (1999 draft):
|Restorative Justice||Community Justice|
|A process of responding to criminal acts in ways that promote healing, reparation, and conciliation of all parties harmed by those acts.||A process and method of confronting crime through proactive, problem-solving strategies aimed at prevention and reparation, with interventions that help to create and maintain safer communities and an improved quality of life.|
|Considers three distinct and equal stakeholders in the justice process--victims, the community, and offenders.||Regards the community, which includes individual victims and offenders, as the ultimate customer--as well as partner--of the justice system and process.|
|With its goals of reparation and healing focused on its three distinct stakeholders, runs on a parallel track with traditional justice practices. Other justice components, methods, and practices that are not restorative in nature are not considered to be part of the process. Punishment "for the sake of punishment" is negatively viewed.||Seeks harmonious working relationships among all justice components, methods, and practices within a transformed justice system. In a community justice system, the arrest, prosecution, conviction/adjudication, sentencing, and supervision of offenders would all be considered as equally legitimate means to an end. All components and methods would be tied to clearly articulated common values and ultimate goals of community well-being. Principled and fair punishment (sanctioning as punishment, not for punishment) would be considered a valid response to criminal actions and victimization. Victims would have priority over victimizers.|
|The ideal results of restorative justice are peaceful, harmonious, and just relationships among individual victims, offenders, and their communities, as well as stakeholder satisfaction with the justice process.||The ideal results of community justice are safe, vital, just, and peaceful communities where crime cannot flourish as well as customer satisfaction with the justice system and process.|
While these terms are often used interchangeably, it is important for victim advocates to understand the significant differences between community justice and restorative justice.
In describing the context of community justice in relationship to crime victims, Deschutes County (Oregon) Chief Community Justice Office Dennis Maloney (1998) said:
. . . the system virtually ignored the crime victims. While most people, when confronting the scene of a crime, would attend to the victim first, then try to discern what damage has been done to the surrounding community, and finally proceed to call the police so that the offender could be apprehended, our criminal justice system appears to adhere to the reverse protocol. We appoint government-financed legal services for the offender, provide counseling and therapeutic interventions, and even upon incarceration provide extensive educational and vocational services. All the while, crime victims languish to deal with their trauma through their own means. Many in the public even perceive us to be offender advocates at the expense of victim and community needs.
Maloney goes on to describe the transformation that occurs within a community justice framework:
. . . the victim is regarded as the paramount customer of the justice system. Offenders are held accountable in constructive and meaningful ways, and crime prevention is viewed as a high priority. Citizen participation in attending to victims' needs, determining priorities, mediating restitution requirements, and supervising community service projects is central in a community justice approach. Justice system officials are careful to state that this shift can occur while remaining steadfast to due process requirements.
We are committed to public safety, justice for victims, the reparation of the community and accountability and personal development of offenders, with respectful treatment for all involved.
Agency mission statements should be reviewed and revised with input from leadership and line staff, as well as from key stakeholders representing victims, offenders, and the community.
- Has this crime(s) had an effect on you and your family? If so, how?
- Is your quality of life affected by this crime(s)? If so, how?
Neighborhood impact statements can also invite the community to "partner" with justice professionals in developing solutions to specific and chronic crimes. They are an excellent tool to validate people in high-crime areas as "hurt by crime," and send a message that the justice system cares about their concerns and wants to work with them on creative solutions.
- How did the crime affect you and your family?
- What was the emotional impact of the crime?
- What was the financial impact of the crime?
- What do you want to happen now? (This question provides an opportunity to offer parameters for what the system can and cannot do.)
- Would you like an opportunity to participate in victim/offender programming? (This question should only be utilized if the victim has been provided with a thorough overview of victim/offender options, and what they entail.)
- Do you have a recommendation for community service if it is ordered as part of the sentence? (This question can include direct service to the victim [upon request]; service of the victim's choice; and/or having the victim select the community service from a list of options provided by the court or supervising agency.)
- Is there anything else you would like to tell the court?
The combination of "specific" and "open-ended" questions will elicit valuable insights into the victim's opinions and recommendations. In addition, the victim impact statement should include a question regarding whether or not the victim wishes to be notified of the offender's status (such as violation of probation or release from incarceration/detention), which can then be forwarded to the proper authority.
Restorative Justice/Community Justice Self-Examination
2. Identify two differences between traditional and restorative approaches to justice.
3. Select one of the five core victims' rights and describe its implementation within a restorative justice framework.
4. Identify one role of the community in a restorative justice framework.
5. Describe two "promising practices" in restorative justice.
Chapter 4 References
Maloney, D. 1998. "Justice and the Community." Oregon's Future (Fall): 16-18.
Marshall, T. 1998. Restorative Justice: An Overview. St. Paul, MN: Center for Restorative Justice and Mediation.
McLagan, J. 1992. Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Restorative Justice to the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Minneapolis, MN.
National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC). 1997. Arlington, VA.
National Institute of Corrections. 1997. Restorative Justice, videotape. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
Pranis, K. 1997. Restorative Justice Asks These Questions. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Pranis, K. 1997-98. "Community Role and Responsibility." Restorative Justice Regional Symposia Conference Binder. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
Seymour, A. 1997. The Victim's View of Restorative Justice, unpublished speech. Washington, DC.
Seymour, A. 1998. "Restorative Justice: What's In It for Crime Victims and Service Providers?" Restorative Justice Regional Symposia Conference Binder. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.
Seymour, A. 1999. Restorative Justice Victim-related Performance Measures. Lexington, KY: American Probation and Parole Association; Laurel, MD: American Correctional Association.
Zehr, H. and H. Mika. 1997. Fundamental Concepts of Restorative Justice. Harrisonburg, VA: Mennonite Central Committee.
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